The Integrator programme has secured support from six major offshore wind farm developers: EnBW, Equinor, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Total and Vattenfall who will collaborate on a series of projects over the next year, as part of this first-of-a-kind, developer-led programme in this field.
The successful reduction in the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of offshore wind has contributed to increased deployment in the last decade, particularly in the UK and Europe. The IEA now estimates a 15-fold increase in capacity, leading to US$1 trillion of cumulative investments by 2040. This expected increase in global deployment of offshore wind and other renewable energy technologies will introduce new challenges and opportunities for effective system integration.
As with all variable renewable energies, increased deployment results in integration costs to adapt the energy system to balance demand and generation. This cost is currently not captured in standard LCOE figures. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s latest energy generation cost predictions show that as the LCOE of offshore wind continues to plummet out to 2035, system integration costs become an increasingly significant part of the total cost of offshore wind.
Technology innovation presents opportunities for offshore wind to evolve its role in the energy system and reduce system integration costs. For example, offshore wind farms could provide further grid services to support voltage or frequency control, by making offshore wind output more predictable through the utilisation of co-located storage technology, or enter new markets, by converting energy into green fuels through electrolysis.
The Integrator is a programme designed to examine the interplay between offshore wind, existing infrastructure, and other technologies and developments to highlight opportunities for innovation investment. Two initial projects will be carried out i) a study to define key market factors that impact the use and integration of offshore wind energy, and ii) a study to identify key technology options that could maximise opportunities for offshore wind energy use and integration, considering the wider market characteristics.
The Integrator’s programme of work is timely in the wake of the 2019 offshore wind sector deal with UK government, which identified integration as a key challenge for industry, as well the increased focus on the role of low carbon hydrogen in a net zero future, for which offshore wind could play a critical role. The German government recently published its National Hydrogen Strategy, which highlights the important role of offshore wind in the energy transition.
Jan Matthiesen, Director - Offshore Wind, the Carbon Trust, commented:
“Industry and governments recognise that successful cost reduction in offshore wind has paved the way for it to play a larger role in the generation mix of a net zero future. Building on the Carbon Trust’s extensive experience of designing and managing collaborative innovation programmes for offshore wind, The Integrator marks the opening of a new chapter to investigate the interplay between offshore wind and other technologies to understand the opportunities that exist for offshore wind to extend beyond electricity generation.”
The programme is funded by industry partners: EnBW, Equinor, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Total and Vattenfall.
Notes to editors
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About the Carbon Trust
Established in 2001, the Carbon Trust works with businesses, governments and institutions around the world, helping them contribute to, and benefit from, a more sustainable future through carbon reduction, resource efficiency strategies, and commercialising low carbon businesses, systems and technologies.
The Carbon Trust have been at the forefront of the offshore wind industry for the past decade, working closely with government, developers, supply chain, and innovators to inform policy, support technology designers, identify opportunities to reduce the cost of energy, and deliver innovation programmes to achieve cost reduction. The Carbon Trust’s expertise spans:
- developing and delivering multi-million pound research, development and deployment programmes
- providing strategic support to governments and businesses around the world
- supporting the development of low carbon technologies and solutions, building the foundations for the energy system of the future.
Headquartered in London, the Carbon Trust has a global team of over 200 staff, representing over 30 nationalities based across five continents.
About The Integrator
The Integrator is a joint-industry initiative led by offshore wind farm developers set up with the mission to maximise the contribution of offshore wind to a low cost, flexible, predictable and low carbon energy future. It is a collaboration between the Carbon Trust, EnBW, Equinor, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, Total and Vattenfall.
The Integrator programme acknowledges the systemic nature of the energy sector and will examine the interplay between offshore wind and other technologies and developments to identify real opportunities to innovate and put offshore wind at the forefront in the energy transition. The programme will focus its research agenda and initiatives in delivering this mission, working in collaboration with both industry and public bodies.